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The Ash Family by Molly Dektar

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This is the first novel of Molly Dektar who grew up in Durham, North Carolina, graduated from Harvard, earned an MFA from Brooklyn College and now lives in New York City.  Her mother was a folklorist, and while growing up she visited the North Carolina mountains both to enjoy nature and to visit Western North Carolina folk artists.  This novel is set near Asheville, where the protagonist, Bertie, is renamed Harmony when she joins an off-the-grid intentional community led by a mysterious and charismatic man obsessed with mankind’s destruction of nature. “The Ash Family is a suspenseful and atmospheric exploration of escape, idealism, and community, a captivating ode to the quest for something more. Molly Dektar writes with great nimbleness and insight, and her debut novel marks the arrival of a wonderful new talent." - Laura van den Berg. “In The Ash Family, the brilliant Molly Dektar explores and explodes the lines between ally and enemy, between collaboration and sabotage, between blessing and threat. Dektar evokes the irresistible beauty of the wilderness, and then exposes its ravaging harshness. This mesmerizing, terrifying book asks the hard questions: What should humankind do in the face of environmental catastrophe? Where does the individual end and the communal begin? A powerful tale by a powerful new writer.” - Helen Phillips. “The Ash Family floored me.  With stirring insight, nuanced emotion, and prose as beautiful as poetry, this magnificent novel delves into essential questions of need and desire, love and family, success and sacrifice. Molly Dektar is a wholly original writer, and we need her vision and voice more than ever.” - Bret Johnston.

New York: Simon and Schuster, 2019. 342 pages. Hardback in dust jacket.